DETROIT — In less than 24 months, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has completed the relocation of 3,400 employees to downtown Detroit from the suburbs, a process that started in May 2011 and was first announced in July 2010. They join nearly 3,000 more Blue Cross employees that were already based in Detroit on a campus of five buildings extending from the Detroit River to the company’s headquarters complex, three blocks north on Lafayette Boulevard.
The BCBSM campus now includes Towers 500 and 600 of the GM Renaissance Center in Detroit, a BCBSM office building on Jefferson Avenue in Detroit, and the two-building BCBSM headquarters complex on Lafayette Boulevard.With approximately 6,400 employees now working in downtown Detroit, BCBSM becomes one of the largest employers in the city’s central business district.
BCBSM President and CEO Daniel J. Loepp said, “It says a lot that our move to Detroit increased occupancy at the RenCen to an all-time high of 93 percent. It says Detroit’s best days remain ahead, and that companies like ours are invested in creating a strong future for the city.”
Wednesday, BCBSM employees and local officials gathered at the company’s Lafayette Boulevard offices to mark the milestone in a lunchtime event with the theme, “Proud To Be Home In The D.” Participating in the celebration were representatives from two downtown businesses – Jeff Lambert, principal, Lambert Edwards and Associates, and Crystal and David Mott, owners of Good People Popcorn. These companies either recently relocated downtown or have experienced increased business due to the Blues’ move.
In addition to helping re-energize Detroit’s central business district, the move of workers from offices in Southfield, Mich., eliminates the redundancies of operating two separate campuses and reduces the company’s real estate footprint by 400,000 square feet.
The move creates around $30 million long-term in real estate cost savings for BCBSM and operational flexibility. It reduces the amount of vacant Class A office space in the central business district by 6 percent.
Despite this move to downtown Detroit, the Blues continue to be a major employer in Oakland County. Blue Care Network, the HMO subsidiary of BCBSM and the leading HMO in the state, will remain headquartered in Southfield.
BCBSM initiatives in downtown Detroit, Lansing, and Grand Rapids have created thousands of construction jobs and millions of dollars in positive economic impact.